Injuries and availability update



It’s almost two weeks until our next League outing – another tough one, away to table-topping Donegal up at Ballybofey on the last Sunday of the month – but it’s still worth having a quick look at the current situation on the injury/availability front.

Let’s start by stating the obvious: Castlebar Mitchels’ heroics up at Breffni Park on Saturday night mean that the likes of Tom Cunniffe, Paddy Durcan, Barry Moran and Neil Douglas (as well as, perhaps, one or two others) are all out of bounds for inter-county purposes not just for the Donegal game but the Monaghan and Kerry ones as well. If their carousing round the town with the Andy Merrigan Cup next month is anyway civilised, though, we can expect to see this battle-hardened quartet available for county selection again for the Roscommon match at the end of March.

March also means the start of the Connacht U21 championship. This year, for the first time in ages, we’ve got a more charitable draw within the province as we’re paired with Leitrim in a semi-final that’s due to take place at some time around St Patrick’s Day. (I’ve done a quick search just now and I can’t find a definitive date/time for this game, though I know it is to be held at a Leitrim venue). The start of the U21 action is likely to impact on the availability of some players at senior level, notably Diarmuid O’Connor, Stephen Coen, David Kenny, Michael Hall and Conor Loftus. The Kerry game the week before the U21s play Leitrim is the match of immediate concern in this respect.

Narrowing back into the Donegal game, the Mayo News (paper and digital variants) has an update today on who might be back and on who are currently carrying knocks. Less positive news first: Tom Parsons (hip), Donal Vaughan (hamstring) and Caolan Crowe (knee) are all nursing their way back to full fitness at the minute. I’ve no idea if any or all of them will be okay for Ballybofey but you’d have to hope that, as is laid down in Meat Loaf’s Law, two of them might be.

Ready for the more positive news? Keith Higgins should obviously be okay to start the next day, having put in a strong performance off the bench against Dublin and, since then, having lined out for the hurlers (also against Donegal, by the way) last Sunday. Lee Keegan is back in full training as well, while Kevin McLoughlin and Alan Freeman are expected back this week. Stephen Coen and Mark Ronaldson are also likely to be available for selection for Sunday week.

It looks, then, those injuries and U21 commitments notwithstanding, that our injury crisis might at last be easing. The depth of our problems in relation to unavailable players is nicely highlighted in this week’s Mayo News, where Mike Finnerty sketches out a Missing XV, which he reckons could have given the team that started for us against the Dubs a right run for their money. You’ll need to get the paper itself, though, for full details on Mike’s Fantasy Fifteen.

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53 thoughts on “Injuries and availability update

  1. A repeat of Dublin tactics is required IMO. Ryan McHugh is the top player in the Country this league and McNailis also in excellent form. McBrearty doing well too. They have lots of talent from no’s 8 to 15 and probably have enough in the backs including subs to be a serious force this year. What kills them is losing Ulster.
    Some returnees will boost us but I think our backs are still to the wall. We might need all 3 of Higgins, Keegan and McLoughlin in the team to pull this one off or even get a draw. I’d be hoping Gibbons has a good game .. he was our form league player 2 years ago and Parsons seems to be consistently good these days. No sign of SOS yet so COS or DOC could be emergency midfielders. Definitely an important area in this game. Without Kirby I think we need AOS inside as Freeman only just back maybe not game ready.

  2. Anyone got timelines and level of seriousness of the like of Andy, SOS, Dillon. Good to hear Freeman back but didn’t know he was injured in the first place.
    How are so many lads injured this time of year when so few games. Are they pulling up in training? Or is it from tail end of club season? FBD? Maybe Dillon and Andy are being rested as they have so much mileage up we don’t need to be risking them.

  3. Donegal s are in serious form at the moment, Ballybofey is a tough place to go any day. Look over all guys are going to have to step up, Castlebar Mitchles are going to have at least 4 or maybe as much as 7 players playing their way into the panel. Stars of last year may not be able to keep their place on a Mayo championship team. It’s going to be tough and ruthless a Noel and Pat found out last year. (not saying the players were wrong) but what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Aiden is going to have to get fitter,SOS is going to have play some serious games, Gibbons is back in contention. Barry Moran is Connacht club player of the year. Tom Parsons is IMO Mayo’s no 1 midfielder of not Irelands. Freeman deserves to be given a decent chance without looking over his shoulder ask the time Let him take all the frees, we has two very easy frees missed against Dublin the last day out. Of w for them we would have a point in the league. It’s going to be Razer thin margins between who goes down and and make the Semis. We are good enough to win the thing outright, but without so many first team choices we are not too good not to go down. Finally congrats to the Mitchles, good luck to them in the final, look the real deal!

  4. Agree about freeman he has proven he’s a capable free taker. He needs to assert himself more though.
    Interesting how roch called the Donegal game a must win game. Puts pressure on everyone concerned but maybe that’s what he wants to do! Will be a very stern test!

  5. Donegal is definitely a must win game for Mayo. Down and Kerry are also rooted to the bottom, but play each other in Newry the next day, meaning that one or even both of them (if a draw), will have points on the board after that.

    Further up on 2 points each are Cork and Roscommon, and they also meet each other the next day, which again means that one or both of them will pick up points from that game.
    You`d fancy Cork, but I wouldn`t put it past the Rossies to get something from that game.

    A combination of the above results, coupled with a possible Mayo defeat, could leave Mayo in a perilous position after 3 games. That`s why it`s a must win game.

  6. A bit off topic but where was that photograph taken?

    It looks like our fellas are standing there facing a prison wall. Not any owl prison wall, but one with a vertical, tall standing radiator attached to it.

  7. Talking of injuries, that was a great interview Mike Finnerty did with Neil Douglas in last week’s MN:

    Dougie’s is a tale of utter bad luck and frustration that must be the lot of many a player in every club/county set up. I found it particularly poignant, in the wake of his, mentally, very strong performance on Saturday night.

    Ironic too that he was ‘ahead’ of Jason Doc in the set up in 2011, but injuries and bad luck put him on the back burner.

    Let’s hope that 2016 is a big year for him.

  8. There was Irish Times interview with C O Connor some weeks ago, he hopes to be 100% for the championship and hasn’t ruled out return towards the end of the league.

    I don’t see this Donegal game as a must win however a win would be a boost to Mayo chances of reaching the league semi finals.

    Dublin should beat Monaghan
    Kerry should get their first win v Down and Cork at home rarely lose in the league.

  9. I was glad to see so many thumbs up for Kirby’s abilities and prospects.I hope we re not wrong and dealing in a bit of wishful thinking.He strikes me as an unusual amalgam, sometimes looking awkward and sometimes not featuring as much as you would hope and believe he could. But of late it’s emerging that he’s got it all if he can put them together…catch in air,securing low ball, tough, mullocker, retain under pressure, score points/goals….and v important, no panic and takes time to pick right option and can plant a good kick pass. Who mentioned a ff line of B Moran, AOS, and Kirby? That would not be fair to any fb line.

    A good show against Donegal, be it a victory or a there abouts will suit me.
    Tactics v Dubs will suffice except a bit more care and thought with the forward forays when it’s our turn.Could turn out to be a real cracker.

  10. Cait,

    We actually don’t need to beat them to stay up, obviously it would help, but id back us to beat Kerry, Down, Monaghan an Roscommon if we keep the same intensity and appetite shown against Dublin. Couple that with an ever increasing crop of returning players and we could be in semi-finals. Other teams had the jump on us (and kerry) fitness wise in the first/second rounds, but that gap will be alot smaller in the games to come.

  11. Thank you Willie Joe.

    Bleak looking owl place. No wonder we played so poorly!!!!!

    Cait. I’d say we need to beat Roscommon, Down and at least one of Kerry, Monaghan and Donegal to stay up. We are not doomed if we lose to Donegal. Not by a long way.

  12. Willie Joe would you be able to name out Mike finnertys missing xv for us that don’t have access to purchase the Mayo news ?

    Give us some faith …. I assume a lot of the Mitchell’s lads are included .

    Ps … This site is an absolute credit to you , your doing a great job

  13. Ballaghman,
    1 David Clarke
    2 Tom Cunniffe
    3 Kevin Keane
    4 Chris Barrett
    5 Lee Keegan
    6 Stephen Coen
    7 Paddy Durcan
    8 Seamus O Shea
    9 Barry Moran
    10 Kevin Mc Loughlin
    11 Cillian O Connor
    12 Alan Dillon
    13 Alan Freeman
    14 Andy Moran
    15 Mark Ronaldson
    Subs: Conor Loftus, Eoghan O Reilly, Ger Mc Donagh, Donie Newcombe, Neil Douglas, Danny Kirby, Andrew Farrell, James Stretton

  14. Of the 15 named its interesting that Cillian is named at centre-half FW and Freeman in the corner. Personally I would like to see that combination tried out with Aidan O’Shea at FF as a target man.

  15. Does anyone know what’s the story with Seamie o Shea’s injury .. Could do with him getting a few league matches under his belt

  16. That’s a seriously strong team

    Any word of a return for these guys ?

    Thinking long term for the main prize ahead I’d like to see Clarke , durcan , keegan , Conor loftus , sos , kirby , sos ,getting game time in the league.

    Clarke , durcan and loftus especially …. I think these 3 players will strengthen the starting X I greatly and could be the difference

  17. Shame we need all the help we can get up in donegal . It’s going to come down to the kerry and roscommon matches if we are to stay up get points on the bord in donegal and we can challenge for a semi final spot.

  18. I expect Keegan and Higgins will be back for the Donegal game in if even 80% fit would start Freeman for frees alone and try to get 40 to 50 minutes out of him. Regan, Loftus and Sweeney all lefties I think so the three of them are competing for the one spot and all trying to keep Andy Moran out of the team. I would rule out Sweeney on heavy ground apart from late Cameos. Hoping one of them comes good. To beat Donegal I think we need a big game from Gibbons. Coen will be available in defense or midfield and should be flying fit so he has to feature, preferably as a starter. So things looking up and hopefully training gap bridged significantly so we have a better chance in this game but definitely depends on midfield doing well and not forgetting Donegal have been blitzing. Good defensive tactics also important, better chance beating them at their own game than our natural running game which really becomes a useful plan B tactic later in the year when everyone is flying.

  19. Thinking back over the Dublin game….that was a great performance from the team we had…v much a second string in comparison to Dublin who had ten regulars on the field. I agree, we re best playing the Dong game in Ballybo and with the same ate ja attitude and a bit more cop on the use of the ball ‘transition’ time, I won’t at all be surprised if we come away with our first brace of points .
    C’Mon Mayo !…north to victory!

  20. Thinking back to the ressurection of Mayo county football takes me back to 96. That year I think that we were demoted to division two and we only managed a draw with London in the first round of the championship. Anyways the doom and gloom merchants will never keep their powder dry. The players on the pitch set their stall out with their removal of Connelly and Holmes. I believe that is early days and that the foundation is rock hard. Time will tell, it always does.

  21. How quiet things have got on Mayogaablog. Only one posting since 6.18 pm on 18th!!!
    Contentment must reign.

    But Joe Ruane, your memory must be faulty about 1996. We qualified for the league semifinal [via a QF] that year when we operated in, I think, Div 3. We were and are, if my memory is right, the only team to reach an All Ireland final from Div 3, and that in 1996.
    Nor do I recall extra time being needed to beat London in the Connacht Championship. The Archive on this site shows a 1 = 11 to 1 = 5 win with no mention of extra time.

  22. Stephen Coen has been a bit below par for the best part of a year now for both club and county so its no surprise that he has not been making the starting 15 for UCD. Hopefully his relatively poor run of form will have turned around well before the swallows have returned to nest !

  23. Nor did Diarmuid O’Connor score for DCU. And Evan Regan did not start for UUJ in the semifinal, having been subbed in the previous game. Questions over form when these fellows should be flying?

  24. And I think D OConnor touched the ball four times….amazing! And E Regan didn’t start for UUJ in semis but came on late …no score! There must be some good news somewhere!

  25. inbetweener, i just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance! good news, no?
    the fact that these fellas are not doing a lot of scoring or starting on college teams is very strange for sure, one can only think that there are a lot of better forwards on those teams that keep our bucks on the bench.

  26. Our bucks look awful light too in comparison to the likes of smith of Roscommon for example .

  27. That’s good news…..congrats! And here’s some more. D O Connor hardly got a ball at all last year in the And Mc Caffrey was nt seen much to day either….and Rossies Smith and other up front didn’t shatter any earth and Liam Mc Hale reckons it ll take Ros a while to mature enough to be a serious threat anywhere!!

  28. It is a bit strange that Evan Regan, Stephen Coen and Diarmuid o Connor didn’t make more of an impact in Sigerson. I would have expected a bit more from them.
    We know exactly what Diarmuid can do at IC level so no worries there. Stephen might have been more focused on club lately. Evan has had a couple of runs in the league and while he was ok he didn’t do enough to nail down a starting place yet. I’m hoping he will start to come good when the pitches harden up a bit and the team settles.
    All that said they need to step up fairly soon if they hope to start in the championship.

  29. Did Stephan not score the insuarance point for the UCD lads today…..all-Irelands and February are like petrol and water.

  30. I’d say that Stephen Coen would have been one of the youngest members of that UCD team. Well done to him for kicking one of the crucial points today. Congrats to him on winning a Sigerson cup medal. He captained his county to an All-Ireland minor win in 2013. Last year he was part of a winning UCD freshers team. Along with winning a Connacht intermediate title this year with his club. That’s not bad for a young fella. He is developing a winning habit. I’m sure he has his eye on a good run with the Mayo U21s this year as well and who knows after that. Best of luck to him for the year ahead.

  31. well I obviously should not come on here before bed, too tired to realise what Meat Loaf’s law was and clicked it, and it brought a great big smile to my face. good man WJ.

  32. Stephen Coen was just added to the UCD panel after his club duties he was never going to start the Sigerson cup final. He did well when he came on and kicked a good point. D O Connor was anonymous but in fairness to him the best part of the UCD team was their defence with plenty of Dubs and top Monaghan defender.

  33. I suppose it has to be accepted that the average Sigerson Cup player is now a couple at least years older than back in the good old days, before students started staying on in college for master’s degrees and even doctorates. Judging by the Fresher’s All Ireland winning team I saw listed during the week players seem to be starting third level later than they used to as well. [I understand that Fresher’s is confined to first year students].
    However our big three Sigerson players [O’Connor, Coen and Regan] are already in their 21st/22nd year at least so cannot be described as novices at Sigerson football.

    Regards absentees, that team listed by mayomanindublin a few days ago would not have raised eyebrows if selected as first choice Mayo team. Granted there would be a few notable absences too but allowing for that it would be a very credible team. So we have great strength in depth, it’s just a question of whether we have the extra spark which makes the difference come September.

  34. Looking at pictures on Ballina Stephenites Facebook page it looks like David Clarke played a challenge game with them yesterday. Would be great to see him back.

  35. If Diarmuid O’Connor plays for Mayo like he did against Dublin, he can be as quiet as he likes in Sigerson finals.

  36. Great win for the hurlers in Trim today v Meath who would, I think, have traditionally had the upper hand in results. 0 = 19 to 2 = 9.

  37. Well done to the hurlers is right, and I agree that Meath are traditionally stronger, or at least in my lifetime. Did Keith Higgins play today? He must be some athlete, football at the highest level and hurling even at a lower grade would still require a lot of effort.

  38. Thanks WJ for the link, that was a great days work for the hurlers well done to them. I always try to get some of their games in, but I have not see them in 2016 yet.

  39. totally agree Done deal… great to hear that Clarke is back with Ballina

    would be a huge boost if he was back for Mayo and can stay injury free

    he is 100% in my opinion the better option

  40. thanks wj, i read that, i wonder will hurling always be second fiddle? when you see the likes of tipperary producing such quality footballers alongside the hurlers you would wonder if we are capable of that too.

  41. According to the Western, Keith didn’t travel to Trim as Stehpen Rochford and the hurling manager had a chat and decided not to play him.

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